Faurea saligna (PROTA)

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Plant Resources of Tropical Africa
Introduction
List of species


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Geographic coverage Africa Fairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgFairytale bookmark gold.svgGood article star.svgGood article star.svg
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Faurea saligna Harv.


Protologue: London Journ. Bot. 6: 373, t. 15 (1847).
Family: Proteaceae

Vernacular names

Red beech, African beech, African red beech, beechwood (En).

Origin and geographic distribution

Faurea saligna occurs from DR Congo, Rwanda and Kenya south to Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and northern and eastern South Africa.

Uses

The wood is used for poles and posts in construction, joinery, panelling, furniture, utensils, ornaments and fence posts. It is suitable for flooring, railway sleepers, toys, novelties, tool handles, carvings, turnery, veneer and plywood. It is also used as firewood and for charcoal production.

Roots, bark and leaves are used in traditional medicine. Root decoctions and infusions are administered to treat diarrhoea, indigestion, colic, cough, venereal diseases, schistosomiasis and dysmenorrhoea. Bark decoctions are taken against venereal diseases, schistosomiasis, rheumatism, headache and skin complaints, and as tonic. Leaf preparations are applied to treat pneumonia, lumbago, colic, intestinal parasites, headache and skin complaints. The bark has been used for tanning leather and provides a red dye. The tree is planted as windbreak and for mulch, and occasionally as ornamental in large gardens and parks. The flowers are visited by honey bees, which collect nectar; the honey is blackish and has a strong, aromatic and malty flavour.

Properties

Heartwood yellowish brown to pinkish brown or reddish brown and rather indistinctly demarcated from the slightly paler sapwood. The grain is interlocked, texture moderately coarse. The wood has a distinct net-like pattern of darker spots on tangential surfaces, and horizontal bands on radial surfaces.

The wood is medium-weight, with a density of 720–770 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. It air dries fairly well but slowly, without splitting or warping but with slight surface checking. The rates of shrinkage are high. At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is about 89 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 11,560 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 60 N/mm², shear 13.5 N/mm² and Janka side hardness 7370 N.

The wood saws and works well with machine tools, and it can be planed, mortised and polished with good results. Radial surfaces may show some picking up of grain. The nailing properties are satisfactory. The wood produces good-quality veneer by slicing and peeling. It turns well. It is moderately durable to fairly durable, having some resistance to termites and wood borers. Boles of young trees are not suitable for use as poles or fence posts in contact with the ground, but those of older trees are more durable.

Description

Evergreen small to medium-sized tree up to 20(–27) m tall; bole branchless for up to 10 m, straight or twisted, slender, up to 60 cm in diameter, sometimes swollen at base; bark surface longitudinally fissured, dark greyish brown to blackish, inner bark yellowish with pink or red border; crown fairly open, with spreading branches; twigs pendent, greyish short-hairy, becoming glabrous. Leaves alternate, usually clustered near ends of twigs, simple; stipules absent; petiole up to 1.5 cm long, pinkish to red; blade lanceolate-elliptical, up to 16 cm × 3.5 cm, cuneate at base, acute at apex, margins entire or slightly wavy, leathery, glabrous, glaucous green, pinnately veined with indistinct lateral veins. Inflorescence a terminal, dense spike up to 15 cm long, greyish short-hairy. Flowers bisexual, zygomorphic, 4-merous, sessile; perianth tubular in bud, c. 12 mm long, splitting into 4 reflexing lobes, one nearly free, the others fused almost to apex, pale pinkish green; stamens fused to perianth lobes; ovary superior, with long straight hairs, 1-celled, style long and slender. Fruit a small, globose nut covered with silky white hairs, 1-seeded.

Other botanical information

Trees grow moderately slowly. In southern Africa flowering trees can be found from August to February and fruits ripen 2–3 months later. The flowers are fragrant with a sweet smell and rich in nectar, and attract bees, which are probably the major pollinators.

Faurea comprises about 15 species and occurs in mainland Africa, but one species is endemic to Madagascar.

Faurea rochetiana

Faurea rochetiana (A.Rich.) Pic.Serm. (synonym: Faurea speciosa Welw.) is quite similar to Faurea saligna and has been much confused in literature with the latter. It differs in its usually wider leaves, which are hairy below, and has an even larger area of distribution, from Nigeria east to Ethiopia and south to South Africa. Its wood is used for similar purposes, and the tree is used for other purposes which are also comparable to Faurea saligna.


Some other Faurea spp. have been confused with Faurea saligna, particularly Faurea arborea Engl., Faurea delevoyi De Wild. and Faurea wentzeliana Engl., which are all medium-sized trees, occasionally up to 30 m tall. This means that information published under Faurea saligna may refer to another species or to a mixture of species.

Faurea forficuliflora

Faurea forficuliflora Baker is a small tree up to 10(–20) m tall, with a bole up to 50 cm in diameter, endemic to Madagascar, where it is widespread in the central regions up to 2500 m altitude. Its hard, yellowish brown wood has been used for fence posts.

Faurea macnaughtonii

Faurea macnaughtonii E.Phillips is restricted to South Africa and Swaziland, where it occurs in few, scattered populations. Its brown to dark brown, nicely figured wood, which is heavy (with a density of about 950 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content) and hard, has been valued for furniture, but the tree is now protected.

Ecology

Faurea saligna occurs in woodland, often together with Brachystegia spp., and grassland with scattered trees, at 700–2000 m altitude, in regions with a mean annual rainfall to as low as 500 mm. It can be found on sandy or loamy soils, and on rocky ridges. Trees are slightly fire-tolerant, but do not survive fierce fires.

Management

There are about 165,000 nuts per kg. Fresh nuts should be sown in well-drained soil; they may lose viability within a month. The germination rate is reported to be variable, from poor to fair.

Genetic resources

Faurea saligna is widespread and locally common, and there are no indications that it is in threat of genetic erosion.

Prospects

Faurea saligna and other Faurea spp. do not have good prospects as timber trees of more economic importance because the logs are usually too small and trees grow too slowly. However, as multi-purpose trees valuable for local timber production, in local medicine, and as auxiliary tree, bee forage and ornamental tree, they deserve protection. Phytochemical and pharmacological studies are recommended in view of the wide use of Faurea spp. in traditional medicine.

Major references

  • Chilufya, H. & Tengnäs, B., 1996. Agroforestry extension manual for northern Zambia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Nairobi, Kenya. 120 + 124 pp.
  • Coates Palgrave, K., 1983. Trees of southern Africa. 2nd Edition. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, South Africa. 959 pp.
  • Latham, P., 2007. Plants visited by bees and other useful plants of Umalila, southern Tanzania. Third edition. P.Latham, DFID, United Kingdom. 216 pp.
  • Maundu, P. & Tengnäs, B. (Editors), 2005. Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya. World Agroforestry Centre - East and Central Africa Regional Programme (ICRAF-ECA), Technical Handbook 35, Nairobi, Kenya. 484 pp.
  • Orwa, C., Mutua, A., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R. & Simons, A., 2009. Agroforestree database: a tree reference and selection guide. Version 4.0. [Internet] World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/ resources/databases/ agroforestree. May 2010.

Other references

  • Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
  • Brummitt, R.K. & Marner, S.K., 1993. Proteaceae. In: Polhill, R.M. (Editor). Flora of Tropical East Africa. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 30 pp.
  • Burkill, H.M., 1997. The useful plants of West Tropical Africa. 2nd Edition. Volume 4, Families M–R. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. 969 pp.
  • Chikamai, B.N., Githiomi, J.K., Gachathi, F.N. & Njenga, M.G., undated. Commercial timber resources of Kenya. Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Nairobi, Kenya. 164 pp.
  • Chisumpa, S.M., Brummitt, R.K. & Marner, S., 2006. Proteaceae. In: Pope, G.V., Polhill, R.M. & Martins, E.S. (Editors). Flora Zambesiaca. Volume 9, part 3. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, United Kingdom. pp. 49–85.
  • Grace, O.M., Prendergast, H.D.V., Jäger, A.K. & van Staden, J., 2002. Bark medicines in traditional healthcare in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: an inventory. South African Journal of Botany 69(3): 301–363.
  • Mbambezeli, G., 2008. Faurea saligna. [Internet] South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, South Africa. http://www.plantzafrica.com/ plantefg/faureasal.htm. March 2011.
  • Neuwinger, H.D., 2000. African traditional medicine: a dictionary of plant use and applications. Medpharm Scientific, Stuttgart, Germany. 589 pp.
  • Palmer, E. & Pitman, N., 1972–1974. Trees of southern Africa, covering all known indigenous species in the Republic of South Africa, South-West Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. 3 volumes. Balkema, Cape Town, South Africa. 2235 pp.
  • van Wyk, B.E. & Gericke, N., 2000. People’s plants: a guide to useful plants of southern Africa. Briza Publications, Pretoria, South Africa. 351 pp.

Author(s)

  • R.H.M.J. Lemmens

PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article

Lemmens, R.H.M.J., 2011. Faurea saligna Harv. [Internet] Record from PROTA4U. Lemmens, R.H.M.J., Louppe, D. & Oteng-Amoako, A.A. (Editors). PROTA (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa / Ressources végétales de l’Afrique tropicale), Wageningen, Netherlands. <http://www.prota4u.org/search.asp>.

Accessed 20 September 2021.